How I upped my meditation game

People ask me how do I focus during meditation?’

I understand that question – how does one control her mind?

I used to google ‘how to focus’, or I would ask my entrepreneur friends the same question.
Their answer  ‘Just.. focus’ was not helpful.

As someone who finds it hard to chill and would rather be moving about, meditation is hard.

Trying to find that peace and quiet so I could focus was one of the reasons that drove me to Leh and then the Himalayas

But it isn’t every day that I can meditate in Chandra Taal.

meditating in Chandra Taal
Chandra Taal or “The Moon Lake” in Spiti Valley amidst the Himalayan mountain range.
(No filter or edit needed)

I always thought that my environment had some part to play in how successful my meditation practice would be.

Yes and no.

Yes because we gain from meditating in places with good energy.

No because I can’t blame my environment if I let myself be susceptible and reactive to external factors

So here are the habits that I gradually adopted over to improve myself and get better at my practice:

Go vegetarian

When I first started meditation, I could not understand why I had to go on a vegetarian but I obliged. The effects are startlingly obvious when I had to sit through at least half an hour or one hour of meditation at one go.

For example, say I’m not a vegetarian diet, this annoying restless unsettling energy would rise up in me- my body feels fidgety, my mind would be like a monkey- and it would be torturous having to sit through the entire session.

When I went vegetarian, I didn’t feel this unnecessary energy. I felt settled and it was easier to quell my mind.

A vegetarian diet helps support meditation practice
My typical salad lunch

Of course, there are other reasons for going vegetarian, but we can talk about that next time.

Recognise my mood

Sometimes when I am in an awful mood, I know that will affect my focus so I will not bother forcing myself to meditate. Our moods affect us in more ways than we know.

Exercise/ Spend time in nature

I burn off excess energy with yoga or exercise to help me settle.

Sometimes, I just cannot settle and would feel distracted even if I was physically tired.

That’s when I know I need to spend time in nature and that brings me back to equilibrium.

On a side note, it’s wonderful to meditate in nature, but I understand that some ‘styles’ or ‘schools’ do not encourage that.

Train my focus

This surprisingly was my game changer. You would think that because I have experienced meditation for years, surely I would have good focus.

Not true. I struggled – really struggled – with focus in meditation, and in many aspects of my life.

I took me a while to notice that when I kept up with focus training,

  1. I could keep to my daily meditation practice. Prior to that, it was always the usual excuses ‘no time’, ‘work comes first’.
  2. Meditation got easier.

With my foundation in place, and I finally had better control over my mind. I could then dig deeper for more reasons.

Forgive; forget

If we hold grudges and pain within us, that is just going to throw us off our ‘center’. How do we settle when the heart is not still? `

I came to realise that everything happens for a good reason, so slowly I learnt to let go.

For me, I think that’s how I started to slowly breakthrough. I feel that if one is centered and focused, it would take a lot from the environment to throw her off .

There is a time for everything

If there is something that needs to be done really urgently that will distract you from your practice, then do it first.

Otherwise, if you have set aside time for practice, be present and do it wholeheartedly. The world won’t end in 10mins.

And it is only through consistent practice that we get better.

Hope this helps. I’d love to know how you up your meditation game!

Have more questions? You can also PM me on FB: @hercleanslate 🙂

Happy meditating!

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